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"Perhaps the most radical thing you can do in our time is to start turning over the soil, loosening it up for the crops to settle in, and then stay home and tend them."
- Rebecca Solnit
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MOF&G Cover Winter 2001-2002

  

  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerWinter 01-02Volunteer Profile   
 Dennis Merrill: The Volunteer Who Wouldn’t Admit It Minimize

Dennis Merrill is too modest for his own good. Although he has volunteered for six years in the Common Ground Country Store and has helped with countless other projects, Dennis insists, “I haven’t really done that much.”

“Dennis is the kind of guy who never makes a big deal about his help,” says Roy Miller, who recruited Dennis to the store 10 years ago. “Dennis came with such energy and enthusiasm,” says Roy’s wife, Lisa, “that we asked him to become the area coordinator.” As coordinator, Dennis tackled project after project, including building a new sign for the store, arranging better display shelves, creating a workable and efficient budget, and making a computerized inventory. And that’s not all! “Dennis put together the set of commemorative note cards featuring all the Fair posters since the first in 1977,” says Heather Spalding, coordinator of the Common Ground Country Fair, “and they’re beautiful!”

“Those note cards gave me a chance to take a deeper look into the history of MOFGA,” said Dennis, “I had a lot of fun going through the MOFGA archives.” Not only were the cards stunning, they proved popular.”

“They sold out right away,” said Roy, “and we plan to print more next year.”

Dennis also lends a hand with many of MOFGA’s work projects around the Fairgrounds. “I guess I did help out with the signs,” was Dennis’ admission. Heather Spalding elaborates, “Dennis did an amazing job with the signs, and came back the next weekend to finish the job.” Adds Lisa Miller, “Dennis always goes the extra mile.” Heather finishes, “He’s really committed to the Fair.”

That commitment prompted him to build wooden benches in response to the pleas of thousands of tired Fair feet. Dennis simply comments, “I try to make a few every year. Unfortunately I’ll never have enough time to give everyone a seat.”

Another item to add to Dennis’ growing list of contributions is his input at Fair Steering and Planning Committee meetings. “I haven’t been there very long,” says Dennis, “it’s just my first year, but being on the committee sure gives you a different perspective on the overall logistics of the Fair. It’s incredible.”

What’s incredible is that after all this, Dennis still thinks he “isn’t really worthy of a profile.” As I say my good-byes over the phone, Dennis adds, “I hope you don’t have too much trouble writing this.” Fifteen minutes later I’m finished, and wondering just what it was he was worried about.

– Marada Cook


    

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